Mitigating Mistrust? Participation and Expertise in Hydraulic Fracturing Governance

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In Canada's Yukon Territory, a legislative committee was tasked with assessing the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing. The committee designed an extensive participatory process involving citizens and experts; however, instead of information access and public hearings fostering an open dialogue and trust, these two channels failed to de-polarize debates over hydraulic fracturing. We argue that mistrust was reinforced because (1) weak participatory processes undermined the goals of public involvement, (2) scientific evidence and scientists themselves were not accepted as neutral or apolitical, and (3) strategic fostering of mistrust by actors on both sides of a polarized issue intensified existing doubt about the integrity and credibility of the process. The implications of a failure to restore trust in government are significant, not only for the issue of hydraulic fracturing, but for governance more broadly, as mistrust has spillover effects for subsequent public negotiations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Neville, KJ; Weinthal, E

Published Date

  • November 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 33 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 578 - 602

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1541-1338

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1541-132X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/ropr.12201

Citation Source

  • Scopus